Executives at New York’s non-profit human service agencies generally endorse the need for accountability through performance measures, but question its implementation and dislike the added administrative burden, according to the third annual Nonprofit Executive Outlook Survey conducted by Baruch College’s School of Public Affairs.
Although 56% thought performance contracting was generally a good thing for the human services sector and 60% felt that way for their own agencies, most directors demurred when asked whether performance measures in government contracts would make their agencies more efficient. “Overall it’s a good concept, but implementation is inconsistent, at times unreasonable, burdensome and usually of no practical benefit to the agency or clients,” commented one agency head. Another said, “smaller or grassroots organizations with proven effectiveness are left at a serious disadvantage.”
In responding to the third annual Nonprofit Executive Outlook Survey, the directors of New York’s non-profits were generally positive about conditions in the city—though less emphatically so than one year ago. In the current survey, 56% said that New York was generally headed in the right direction, compared with 69% in 2006 and a scant 39% in 2005.
For the third year in a row, respondents expressed overwhelmingly negative views of the policies of the federal government toward human service needs. New York City policies received the most positive ratings, with 42% indicating approval, while views of New York state policies under Governor Spitzer were mixed. 29% approved of state policies. 51% of those polled said they expected the governor to give these services at least a fair amount of attention, while nearly as many were unsure or negative.
As in the past, poor families and immigrants, along with the elderly and the mentally ill, were perceived to be worst off, while circumstances for young children, people living with HIV/AIDS, and substance abusers were seen as marginally better.
Also part of this year’s survey was a question about Mayor Bloomberg’s plan for New York City in the year 2030, by which time the mayor has said he expects the city’s population to increase by one million people. Only 63% of respondents were aware of planning for the New York of 2030, but those familiar with Mayor Bloomberg’s projections saw a need to “ensure that the human services sector is represented at the planning table in order to anticipate and adequately plan and fund services for the newest New Yorkers.”
The New York City Nonprofit Executive Outlook Survey was developed by Baruch College’s School of Public Affairs and sponsored by its Center for Nonprofit Strategy and Management and the Survey Research Unit, in partnership with four major social service federations: The Human Services Council of New York City, the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, the UJA Federation of New York and United Neighborhood Houses of New York. The survey was conducted online between March and April 2007. The executive directors of approximately 100 New York human service agencies responded.
Agencies cooperating in this survey include the Asian American Federation, the Hispanic Federation, Black Agency Executives, the Black Equity Alliance, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York, and the Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens.
The New York Executive Outlook Survey can be seen in its entirety under Reports.
For additional information about survey results and methodology, contact Jack Krauskopf, Distinguished Lecturer and Director of the Center for Nonprofit Strategy and Management at 646.660.6724.
Media Contact: Zane Berzins, 646.660.6113